Navigation

News and events

The MEDIA AND DIGITAL ENTERPRISE (MADE) Project

  • UCLan MADE

    UCLan MADE

A winner of the International Press Institute’s News Innovation Contest 2011, supported by a grant from Google
Starting up a new media enterprise is pretty straightforward; keeping it up is much more complex. And that’s the key challenge MADE will tackle,” says project initiator François Nel, who is the founding director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLan’s School of Journalism, Media and Communication.

Working in collaboration with ScaperWiki.com, Talk About Local and UCLan’s award-winning Northern Lights business incubation support team, the MADE project aims to equip digital entrepreneurs from Europe and the Middle East with the cutting-edge knowledge and skills required to start up innovative new journalistic enterprises in the public interest - as well with competencies and the networks that are essential to sustain them.

In particular, this innovative training, mentoring and research programme will work to create sustainable news enterprises - whether for social or commercial purposes – by helping innovators in four key areas:

  • Content: Participants will be offered training in cutting-edge data journalism tools and techniques in order to create compelling content in highly efficient ways;
  • Commerce: Drawing on the latest research into news online, on mobile and on tablet – and a track-record of mentoring successful digital start-ups - the MADE team will help participants develop business strategies that consider a variety of direct and indirect revenue streams, in addition to advice on managing teams and resources effectively and efficiently;
  • Community: Participants will get practical advice on how to engage and grow their target communities;
  • Connections: The MADE project participants will have an opportunity to network and learn from fellow news entrepreneurs – and to share their own experiences.

Nel, who also helped start up the Digital Editors Network (UK), outlined the key activities that the MADE project will deliver in 2012:

  • News Entrepreneurship Workshops in the UK and Turkey that will equip up to 40 participants (20 in each of the two regions) with advanced data journalism skills, community engagement tools and core business competencies
  • Enterprise Development Mentoring for up to 10 high-potential projects. At the conclusion of the workshops, up to five ventures in each region will be able to apply for up to three months of on-going business incubation and software development support from Northern Lights and ScraperWiki. “Our aim is to help give some of the best ideas the legs they need to run,” said Nel
  • MADE project networking events, in conjunction with the Digital Editors Network, will aim to give news entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from their peers
  • Project research and reports, which will be widely disseminated through the project website, the trade press and presentations to professional forums (Note: speaking invitations are most welcome). The project process and outcomes will be critically evaluated and reported on by the project team and the participants, who will be expected to contribute to these reports. The full report, which will include case studies of the mentored projects, will be freely available

François Nel ( @francoisnel ) is the founding director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Central Lancashire, UK, and co-founder of the Digital Editors Network.

Sarah Hartley ( @foodiesarah ) is acting CEO of Talk About Local and Community Strategist for the Guardian News and Media. She frequently conducts training inside and outside her company.

Julian Todd ( @ScraperWiki ) and Francis Irving ( @frabcus ) are software developers, freedom of information advocates and founders of ScraperWiki.com

Peter Rawling is Business Incubation Manager for the University of Central Lancashire’s widely-recognised Northern Lights Programme, which provides support to students, and graduates.

UCLan MADE Activities

The key activities that the MADE project will deliver are :

News Entrepreneurship Workshops in the UK and Turkey that will equip up to 40 participants (20 in each of the two regions) with advanced data journalism skills, community engagement tools and core business competencies.

Enterprise Development Mentoring for up to 10 high-potential projects. At the conclusion of the workshops, up to five ventures in each region will be able to apply for up to three months of on-going business incubation and software development support from Northern Lights and ScraperWiki. “Our aim is to help give some of the best ideas the legs they need to run,” said Nel.

MADE project networking events, in conjunction with the Digital Editors Network, will aim to give news entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from their peers.

Project research and reports, which will be widely disseminated through the project website, the trade press and presentations to professional forums (Note: speaking invitations are most welcome). The project process and outcomes will be critically evaluated and reported on by the project team and the participants, who will be expected to contribute to these reports. The full report, which will include case studies of the mentored projects, will be freely available.


UCLan MADE Profiles

FRANCIS IRVING is a British computer programmer and activist for freedom of information. Francis is the CEO of ScraperWiki and has collaborated with Julian Todd over many years working on several projects including theyworkforyou.com and electionleaflets.org . Prior to joining ScraperWiki, Francis was one of the founders of non-profit startup mySociety where in conjunction with Tom Steinberg he helped the organisation grow from a volunteer UK focused group into one which has a strong funding base and a growing international reputation.

He was one of two people to suggest the winning idea of a site through which Freedom of Information Act requests could be made in a mySociety competition for ideas for public interest websites to build. He was later to become the main developer of the site which was called WhatDoTheyKnow. Francis has won seven New Statesman awards for websites he has worked on and holds a 1st class honours degree in mathematics from Oxford University.

UCLan MADE Profiles

FRANÇOIS NEL is the founding director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Central Lancashire, UK, and co-founder of the Digital Editors Network. He is an author of two Oxford University Press texts, as well as the annual World Newsmedia Innovation Study, formerly the World Newspaper Future and Change Study conducted in conjunction the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) since 2009. A frequent speaker at industry conferences worldwide, his research into innovation in newsrooms, boardrooms and classrooms has been published as monographs and in journals such as Journalism Practice, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator and the Rhodes Journalism Review. 


SARAH HARTLEY is community strategist for Guardian Media Group and as an experienced online editor, blogger and consultant is best known for her work in what's often called the 'hyperlocal' sphere.

In the past two years she's launched several successful collaborative community journalism blogs based in the cities of Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh as editor of Guardian Local.

Before that Sarah was the head of online editorial for MEN Media in Manchester and launched the award-winning Manchester Evening News website as well as being co-founder of the city's Social Media Cafe. She also blogs about network journalism, social media, hyperlocal news and online communities.

Sarah has been an online journalist since 2000 after starting her career in regional newspapers. Journalism training and development is an area of particular interest for Sarah who has run courses in all aspects of online content production, blogging and multimedia for organisations in the UK and overseas ranging from NATO to NCTJ journalism colleges.

UCLan MADE Profiles

JULIAN TODD is a British computer programmer and activist for freedom of information. He works in Liverpool. He is the inventor of ScraperWiki and its CTO and has a very strong track record in screen scraping. He was inventor and co-founder of Public Whip with Francis Irving. And also the affiliated TheyWorkForYou website, a project which parses raw Hansard data to track how members vote in the UK Parliament. Initially risking prosecution for re-using the raw data which was under Crown copyright, they were later successful in getting permission to use it.

He has since extended this concept of parsing political transcripts to the General Assembly and Security Council of the United Nations to establish UNdemocracy.com in 2007 The project has been an inspiration and example to many like-minded developers around the world. Julian has a PhD in mathematics, is a graduate of Cambridge University.


PETER RAWLING is Business Incubation Manager for the University of Central Lancashire’s widely-recognized Northern Lights Programme, which provides support to students, graduates and businesses* throughout the Northwest of England. In that capacity, Peter has delivered and managed a comprehensive programme of support for new and early-stage businesses including conducting many 1-2-1 mentoring session with clients.

A broad based career across both private and public sectors, experience of working in small, medium and large companies and a variety of demanding and challenging roles, has given Peter a wealth of experience to pass onto small businesses and those exploring business ideas with a view to starting up. He’s been fortunate to benefit from many opportunities for formal training including PRINCE2, NLP and Coaching, along with more specialist areas, but then also had opportunities of working in small to medium companies to build up the years of experience at the coal face.

Setting up and running his own small company was a very valuable useful and very much helps with understanding and having empathy for clients he now work with. Experience of working in more established small and medium sized companies has helped him pass on knowledge of marketing, sales, business development, customer service and client management.